COLUMN: It starts at home


Rob Le Cates

Kyla Moton is a junior English major and can be reached at 217-581-2812.

Kyla Moton, Columnist

I was in my myth and culture class recently, and our topic was superheroes and why we believe them to seem so heroic.

We watched a TED talk from Christopher Bell about the gender inequalities when it comes to superhero entertainment. Bell brings up a point that stuck with me about societal ideologies that seem to assign certain mannerisms, items and even colors to a specific gender.

The most well known example of this is the colors blue and pink. Society has led many to believe that blue should be for boys and pink should be for girls.

Growing up, people would say things like boys shouldn’t be wearing pink, but I’ve never heard anyone say that girls shouldn’t wear blue, which is very strange.

Even when I was younger, I never understood why it was frowned upon for girls to not do certain things and vice versa. As a child, boys found it weird that I played with my brother’s action figures and toy cars. They expected me to always play with dolls or makeup.

Younger me did not understand or even really think about why things were this way.

In class, I brought up a point that a lot of the ideologies and beliefs we inhabit come from the people we are with the most. If you are living with a family of 4, two parents and two children, you will more than likely inhabit the same ideologies as your parents.

Parents teach us most of the soft skills that we know today, so it makes sense that we learn a lot of the beliefs that we tend to inhabit. A lot of times we see people say or do ignorant things and wonder where they learned this ignorance from.

If your mother were to always push certain norms onto you, like snatching a toy out of your hands because “you’re a girl and this is a boy toy”, then you will be more inclined to believe that toys cannot be gender neutral.

And this also goes for things such as racism, homophobia, etc. The ignorance that a lot of children on social media spew either comes from social media or the people who they spend the most time with.

These are learned behaviors, it is not possible to be born and possess so much hatred for a person or a group of people. A lot of times when it comes to issues that people are wanting to bring awareness or change for, that change can start right at home.

Raising kids not to judge people based on what they look like or who they choose to love is the first step to ending hate crimes or public harassment against minority groups.

If there were more instances of people teaching their kid that someone who does not have the same skin color is still worthy of respect and love, I truly believe that there would not be as much hatred towards people of color.

Overall, as a society we should be working to tear down these norms that we have conditioned ourselves to carry and hold true no matter what.

Our next generation of children will be taking what we teach them and what we portray in front of them with them forever. And the cycle will continue onto future generations. I feel that it is better to teach your children how to treat people properly and how to not listen when people try to tell you that you cannot do something because of your gender.

It’s even ignorant to leave your child hanging on topics like these, allowing them to believe whatever social media or their friends tell them over what you have to say.

The next generation is a powerful one, and in order for us to have the proper representation of everyone in every aspect, it starts at home.

Kyla Moton is a junior English major. She can be reached at [email protected] or 217-581-2812.